Quite some time has passed since Nicephore Niepce yielded an image of the French countryside from a pewter plate covered with chemicals and exposed it to eight hours of Gallic sunshine. One hundred seventy-one years later, exposure times have dramatically shrunken, but people are still taking pictures of countrysides — and coastlines, animals, best friends, lovers, enemies, tyrants, heroes, bodies, body parts, movement, stillness, hope, despair and every imaginable concept and emotion.

So much is clear from this year’s entrants to the VC Reporter Photo Contest. Dozens of people submitted hundreds of images reflecting just as many perspectives on life in Ventura County and on the Earth. Clearly, the people of Ventura County are passionate about photography. Technology has come along way since Niepce and Daguerre.

Now, armed with only a chunk of plastic (or metal) and glass anyone can press a few buttons and capture a slice of the world around them. This year’s contest proves an ever-present photographic truth: no interpretation of that world is alike. Never has it been clearer that beauty varies immensely from the eye of one beholder to the next. It is also once again clear that many photographers in our community believe those things we take for granted can be as beautiful as that which we are told to accept as magnificent. The vibrant, slow-motion chaos of decaying crops, the stark contrasts and graceful curves of industrial architecture and the motion of spilled liquids left absent-mindedly on a car easily stir a sense of fascination as much as a setting sun, bright smiles and painstakingly posed reflections on metal surfaces.

The Reporter purposefully left the guidelines for the photo contest vague. As a result, selecting our winners was a challenge, but a welcome one. As Matthew Singer, Enrique Candioti, Teresa Wann-Davis, Ailene Sankur, Stephanie Nice, David Comden and I pored over the photos, we balanced questions of composition, color (or contrast) and compelling subject matter and pondered whether an image oozed with cliché or overflowed with emotion. Ultimately, like any judgment of art, our selection process was imperfect. We all had our favorites and we all had images we lacked passion for, but here before us are those selections of your submissions that most grabbed our attention. Clearly, many, many people in Ventura County fancy themselves photographers. While we thank everyone for their submissions, please take a moment to note those area photographers who stood out in this year’s VC Reporter Photo Contest.

\"\"

Pro Color First Place Winner Gary Silva. Pumpkin fed escargot with the recent rain.

\"\"

Pro Color Second Place Ira Meyer‘Face to Face’.

\"\"

Pro Color Third Place Pierre SilvaCocktail Hour: A collaboration on an ongoing gallery show
.

\"\"

Amateur Color First Place Meghan Brandon‘Smile Jesus Loves You’
.

\"\"

Amateur Color Second Place John Ferritto Tank at Camarillo Airport
.

\"\"

Amateur Color Third Place Kathleen A. Lewis Still Life: Lucky 7’s in a Martini

.

\"\"

Honorable Mention Steven smith Catalina ‘White Steamship’
.

\"\"

Honorable Mention John ferrito‘Wilted Flower’
.

\"\"

Honorable Mention Chalee Rideaux ‘Man on a Can’

.

\"\"

Black and white First Place Pierre silva China: Promo shot for take on Marlena D

.

\"\"

Black and white Second Place James E Travers‘Hazardous Duty’

.

\"\"

Black and white Third Place Mary Ingalls ‘Untitled’

.

\"\"

Honorable Mention Chalee Rideaux‘Man in the Mirror’

.